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  • Article: Oct 18, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    Beth Roche's letter in last week's pages section of the Chronicle seems to support the idea of multi-academy trusts (MATs).

    While I believe cooperation is an excellent value in our educational system, especially vertically in the transition from primary to secondary education, it is not the only one in town.

    The two types of schools have very different objectives, secondary ones being very focused on exam results and league tables while the former hopefully have more latitude for a more general ethos including many extra-curricular subjects such as the environment, social aspects and physical activity.

  • Article: Oct 11, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    In response to your Open Debate article in last week's Chronicle, local newspapers are perhaps one of those things that we take for granted until they disappear.

    I admit I would not be as interested in the issues surrounding Congleton if there was not a credible, well written and topical local newspaper with its dedicated staff.

  • Article: Oct 4, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    With regard to your article on page fi ve of last week's Chronicle concerning charging for waste bins, Cheshire East seems to have wrong priorities.

    While acknowledging that it needs to balance its budget, this should not be at the expense of driving its waste strategy in the wrong direction.

  • Article: Sep 27, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    I am grateful to "DC" of Congleton for responding to my letter on business rates in last week's Chronicle.

    He is right that I do not pretend to understand the niceties of how these rates are calculated and collected.

    However, they do penalise improving a business, especially those operating at low margins such as Shakeeze and so act as an impediment to such change.

    They do this because the rates are calculated on the value of the property as calculated by an independent evaluator rather than just the land that it is built on.

  • Article: Sep 27, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    It is said that you can lead a horse to water though not force him (or her) to drink.

    If the water is poisoned, we have a wise horse grateful for its free will.

    The same can be said of Brexit.

    One of the reasons for the long time it is taking to leave might be that the people concerned in negotiating on our behalf are not convinced of its merits.

  • Article: Sep 13, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to comment on the article in last week's Chronicle, p6 in which you discuss the re-awarding of Cheshire East's highways contract to Highways Jacobs for up to 15 years.

    I note the healthy profi t margins in the previous years with mention of continuing audit and key performance indicator checks to ensure value for money.

    What your article doesn't mention is any audit of highway users' satisfaction on the same continuing basis.

  • Article: Sep 6, 2018
    By Suzy Firkin in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    Congleton is a great little town full of character and life, but when it comes to essential services it often feels like the needs of Congleton residents are squeezed out. When we need a hospital, mental health support or even a regular and reliable train service we are directed towards Crewe or Macclesfield.

  • Article: Sep 6, 2018
    By Robert Douglas in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    There are only just over 200 days left until we reached the dreaded Brexit day on 29th March, 2019.

    After 797 days since the Brexit referendum, Theresa May has finally secured her first trade deal.

    Excuse me, if I do not call out the Marching Bands trumpeting out success.

    For there is in fact nothing to celebrate.

  • Article: Sep 6, 2018
    By Robert Douglas in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    The British Dental Association says that there is a, "huge fall" in people on low incomes visiting the dentist in England. This is because they fear that they will be fined, wrongly, when they claim for treatment.

    Those claiming free treatment include the elderly, those on benefits, people with learning difficulties and people suffering from dementia, cancer and multiple disabilities.

  • Article: Sep 6, 2018
    By Dr Peter Hirst in Congleton Chronicle

    Dear Sir,

    I read with interest your leading article in last week's Chronicle about Shakeeze remaining open following a reduction in its rent.

    Retailers and other business owners are being driven out of business by the high levels of rents and business rates all over the country.

    The Liberal Democrats, at their autumn conference in a few weeks, will be debating a motion to replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy. This is a tax on the value of the land rather than what is above it and will result in an average 19% drop in tax in Cheshire East.